As a hard polytheist Norse Pagan, let me to tell you a deeply personal story involving Black Lives Matter and my faith.
Loki was present in my life years before I truly knew who he was, parading around as a character of mine. Back in 2015, Black Lives Matter protested at our 4th precinct. The media labeled it as a “riot” and claimed the protestors were violent. But when I looked at a phone recording of the supposed “riots,” I saw the aggressors were not the protestors, but the police pepper spraying the otherwise peaceful crowd.
Now, I’m a white individual from a well-to-do social strata who’s never experienced any systemic injustice in my life, so looking at how the media spun this was revelatory. As my emotions stewed and my implicit racial biases kicked up, my “character,” Loki-not-Loki, took one look at me and said, “Alright, we’re going to do something about that.”
And from that point onward, he was Black.
I can’t describe what it feels like to have a “character” suddenly shapeshift on you in a way that’s neither expected nor comfortable. But from that moment on it felt disingenuous to portray this character as white even though I wanted to, and I had to dig into why that was.
Hell, I’m still digging into racial bias to this day.
Regardless of my initial wants, Loki held his Black appearance for two-and-a-half years until he revealed to me who he was. To this day, this appearance is the one I’m most comforted by and the one I associate the most with him.
As I write this, white supremacists are coming out of the woodwork to riot in our cities. Some of these supremacists like to believe my gods, the Norse Gods, agree with their racial ideologies. But I’ll never be convinced of that because I’ve witnessed the opinions of my gods. They’ve appeared as Black and mixed-race to me. They’ve helped me work on my racial biases. They’ve demonstrated, repeatedly, that their concerns don’t begin and end with white lives like the supremacists would have you believe.
I’ve heard my gods opinions on race, and they say Black Lives Matter.